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Over the last 15 years, the majority of Marshall University geology graduates have found employment in environmental and engineering /geotechnical companies. Recent increased demand and prices for oil and natural gas have to accelerated hiring of geology graduates by the petroleum industry, with starting salaries of $62,000 (B.S. Geology).

What is a geoscientist?
A geologist, or geoscientist, is concerned with the physical and chemical makeup and history of the Earth. Many of the natural resources upon which human society is built, are found by geologists. Geologists provide fundamental data and knowledge for policies that affect the environment, public safety, health and welfare of societies.

What do Geologists do?
Geology is a discipline with many areas of specialization. Some of these include:

  • Geophysicists - use physics to study the interior structure and dynamics of the Earth.
  • Geochemists - investigate the chemical aspects of rocks, minerals, soils and water.
  • Petroleum Geologists* - explore for oil and natural gas.
  • Hydrologists - study the movement of surface waters.
  • Hydrogeologists- investigate the occurrence, movement and quality of ground water.
  • Engineering Geologists - study the factors relevant to construction of buildings, dams, bridges and other structures.
  • Environmental Geologists - work on solving and preventing problems that degrade our environment such as pollution, waste disposal, urban development, and geologic hazards.
  • Sedimentologists - investigates the processes of transport, deposition and formation of sedimentary rock.

Where do Geologists Work?
Geologists work in the field, laboratory, and the office. Duties commonly take the geologist to the field to gather data and samples that are returned to the laboratory for analysis. Data are compiled and tabulated, plots and maps are drawn, and the results are evaluated--all leading to the writing of reports. The tools used by geologists vary from the simple rock hammer and hand lens in the field to the most sophisticated and high tech electron microscope, chemical/elemental analysis instruments, and computer software used in the laboratory.

The largest number of geologists are employed in the fossil fuels industry. State and Federal governments hire many geologists performing duties in research, regulatory functions and teaching. After gaining experience and a good reputation, many geologists go into private practice as consultants. Dwindling energy, mineral and water resources, increased environmental concerns present challenging careers for geologists. At the present, employment opportunities are the best in the environmental and geotechnical areas.

College of Science • One John Marshall Drive • Science Building 270 • Huntington, WV 25755
(304) 696-2372
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